WHO finds new SARS-like virus in Qatari man
World Health Organisation said a new virus belonging to the same family as the SARS virus that killed 800 people in 2002 has been identified in Britain in a man who had recently been in Saudi Arabia, the news reports said.
The United Nations health body, which gave a statement through its global alert and response system, said tests on the patient, a 49-year old Qatari man, confirmed the presence of the new coronavirus.
These are large family of viruses that includes common cold and SARS. According to the statement, “Given that this is a novel coronavirus, WHO is currently in the process of obtaining further information to determine the public health implications.” Peter Openshaw, Director of the Centre for Respiratory Infection at Imperial College London said, “At this stage, the novel virus looked unlikely to prove a concern, and may well only have been identified due to sophisticated techniques.”
According to WHO, the Qatari patient had first presented to doctors on September 3, 2012 with symtoms of acute respiratory infection.
On September 7, he was admitted to an intensive care unit in Doha, Qatar, and on September 11, he was transferred to Britain by air ambulance from Qatar.
Scientists at the HPA compared gene sequences of the virus from the Qatari patient with samples of virus sequenced by Dutch scientists from lung tissue of a fatal case earlier this year in a 60-year old Saudi National.
WHO also said it is not recommending any travel restrictions but will seek more information on the virus.
World Health Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations that is connected with international public health. It was established on April 7, 1948 and is a member of the United Nations Development Group.